Reading into the Past

Reading into the Past is a selection of English-language materials relevant to the China Story originally published in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In reprinting these essays we intend to not only preserve them and make them more easily accessible, but also to augment the modern day China Story by providing perspectives from the past on critical issues that continue to be debated. More than mere curios, Reading into the Past illuminates and contextualises the present.

W.W. Yen (Yan Huiqing) 顏惠慶

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. His Excellency Dr. Weiching Williams Yen, more popularly known as Dr. W. W. Yen, son of the late Rev. Y. K. Yen, was born at Shanghai on April 2nd, 1877. He received his early education from home tutors and in local schools and … more

Wang Shih-chen (Wang Shizhen) 王士珍

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Marshal Wang Shih-chen, was born at Cheng-ting, Chihli province, in 1864. He was graduated from the Peiyang Military School of Tientsin, which was founded in 1885. While there he studied in the same class with Marshal Tuan Chi-jui. After graduation, Marshal Wang rose … more

Sah Chen-ping (Sa Zhenbing) 薩鎮冰

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Admiral Sah Chen-ping was born at Foochow, in 1859. During his boyhood, he studied in Confucian Schools; but, prior to the completion of his classical studies, he joined the naval academy at Foochow. After his graduation from the naval academy, he was sent … more

Liang Shih-yi (Liang Shiyi) 梁士詒

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. His Excellency Liang Shih-yi was born in Kwantung Province. He passed the Metropolitan literary examinations, and was subsequently given the rank of Ministerial Senior Secretary. In 1906, Mr. Liang was appointed Secretary to His Excellency Tong Shao-yi, and was sent with him to … more

Kang Yu-wei (Kang Youwei) 康有為

"Mr. Kang’s writings are widely read by Chinese scholars. However, in late years he has written very little, preferring to devote practically all of his time to furthering the cause of the Confucian religion."

Robert Ho-Tung (He Dong) 何東

Sir Robert "is a keen believer in reform, and of abandonment of obsolete customs in China; as is shown by his public and private actions."

Chu Pao-san (Zhu Baosan) 朱葆三

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Mr. Chu Pao-san, a native of Tinghai, Chekiang Province, was born in 1847. He is rightly called the veteran merchant of Shanghai, having engaged in business, of different kinds, in Shanghai for over 60 years. Mr. Chu has had indeed a most remarkably … more

Chang Chien (Zhang Jian) 張謇

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925, in which Chang also wrote the introduction. His Excellency Chang Chien, a native of Nantungchow, Kiangsu, was born of parents who were proud of belonging to the industrious farming class. Chang Chien however, was destined to become a scholar. In his early years, … more

Sun Pao-chi (Sun Baoqi) 孫寶琦

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. His excellency Sun Pao-chi was born in Hangkow, Chekiang Province, in 1866. Owing to his father’s influence, he started his political career in the Ministry of Justice, with the title of Chu Shih. In 1895, he was summoned, by the Viceroy of Chihli, … more